China’s ongoing two sessions — the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — have attracted extensive attention at home and abroad, and rightly so. This year’s two sessions carry extra weight because new leading officials of State institutions and the new leadership of the CPPCC National Committee will be elected, and the planned reform of the State institutions will be deliberated, aside from the usual agendas covering issues such as economic development, all kinds of growth targets, national security, common prosperity, technology advancement, etc.
A unique year, 2023 also commemorates the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 45th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, and the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by China. China is moving into a year that is full of both opportunities and difficulties. All eyes are on how the country will tell “the story of China” in its next chapter.
With the anti-pandemic regime now ended, economic activities on the mainland are gradually resurrecting. As suggested by Premier Li Keqiang’s Government Work Report delivered at the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC on Sunday morning, policies and measures aimed at furthering market liberalization and promoting opportunities to international businesses and investors are expected to be deliberated and approved at the two sessions. Those policies and measures are likely to boost investment from overseas and benefit Hong Kong as the city further strengthens its role as an international financial hub and integrates into national development.
New policies are also expected to be introduced during the two sessions to promote the development of industries and sectors such as healthcare, semiconductors, green technology and agriculture, with the aims of furthering the development of the real economy and enhancing self-sufficiency, and thus ultimately benefiting all Chinese people under the principle of common prosperity. Given its unique advantages, Hong Kong can play a significant role in these endeavors in its capacity as a “superconnector” between the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government’s recently released Youth Development Blueprint is well-conceived to facilitate the studies and career development of Hong Kong young people on the mainland. Various measures are likely to be introduced in the future to strengthen cooperation between mainland and Hong Kong universities, and to facilitate regular exchanges and/or cross-boundary internships.
Hong Kong, as part of China and with considerable soft power to wield, has a responsibility to tell the Chinese story well, particularly about the ever-improving living standards of the people and the national rejuvenation.
The two sessions herald a new journey for China to march toward reaching new milestones in national development and rejuvenation.
Hong Kong, with the unwavering support of the central government, is well-positioned to take advantage of the new policies and measures to be introduced to expand its economy, provide new opportunities to the city’s young people, and improve the quality of life of residents. What Hong Kong can expect from the two sessions is not just new policies but also a role for the city in national economic development.
The author is vice-chairman of Hong Kong CPPCC Youth Association and guest researcher of One Country Two Systems Youth Forum.